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If you are looking for a cheap, mass-produced print with a pleasing subject that accomodates the taste of a typical art buyer in North America or Europe, then the prints by Japanese artist Shizuo Nishizawa are probably not the right choice for you. But if you have a sense for elaborate and intricate art in small editions, openess for Japanese culture, and if you can afford the price for an original print by Nishizawa, you will be rewarded with an outstanding work of art.
Shizuo Nishizawa is a great name in Japan. Yoseido Gallery has represented him for decades. If you happen to have access to old Yoseido Gallery catalogs from the 1970s, you find in each publication one or two of the artist's print works.
Nishizawa works in intaglio techniques - etchings, aquatint, mezzotint and in a mix of several of these. Editions are small with typically 30. All prints that we have seen so far, were signed and numbered.
The artist makes ample use of such lush techniques as gold and silver leafing. This is a process to apply a metallic foil surface to a print. Nishizawa uses it sometimes for the background. The gold leafing is called kinpaku and the silver leafing ginpaku.
The artist's themes are very, very Japanese. The majority of his designs are from the world of bunraku, the Japanese puppet theater. Bunraku is no play thing for kids in Japan. It is rather, like the Noh theater, a serious art form for a small elite.
Other subjects are the display of women in rather dreamy, unreal depictions that make the impression of being from a different world.
Prices for prints by Shizuo Nishizawa are not and have never been cheap (see the old Yoseido catalogs). It reminds us of an old Chinese saying:
"Cheap things are not good, good things are not cheap."
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